BYU Football Fall Camp 2022: Health, fast install at top of Sitake’s list
For Kalani Sitake and his BYU coaching staff, the goals for fall camp are simple: Keep ’em healthy and train ’em up.
As Sitake’s seventh fall camp in Provo starts on Thursday it is likely his most talented and deepest team yet. The Cougars could be ranked in the Top 25 when the polls come out and their final season as an independent could be special.
“The biggest storyline for us is to find the identity of the team,” Sitake said on BYU Sports Nation on Wednesday. “Last year we had a lot of questions going into the season. This year those questions are way different. I just reminded the team that our expectations of ourselves, the brand that we play with, the style of football that we play and our culture, all of those things need to happen for us. We need to double down on our competitive advantages.
“There are a lot of things we can accomplish in the next month before we get to that first game. I’ve praised them for all of their hard work and the team chemistry that I see, the love that they show for each other and their willingness to learn.”
Sitake said he was looking forward to the day-to-day competition at all positions.
“We’re going to see who is going to earn the reps,” he said. “We have great competition at so many positions, for backup spots, not just the starting spots. Everyone is trying to get on the field and get those seconds or minutes of the 60 minutes of the game.”
The coaching staff will rely on the analytics of the strength and conditioning staff and the sports medicine department to help them determine how much of a load each player can carry. Sitake said he also learned about keeping players healthy from the experience of former Cougar Andy Reid, the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Everybody has a depth chart,” Sitake said. “We have a complete roster but guys on that depth chart have played valuable reps and started. There’s going to be a huge competition to get those reps and opportunities. The question is how do we utilize all the talent we have on the team?”
Sitake said the coaches plan on starting quickly and not letting up.
“We’re going to have to stress them a little bit,” he said. “Our Day 1 install will probably be more than we have ever done before because of all of our experience. So you might say, ‘That kind of sucks for the freshmen.’ Yeah, it does. But the freshmen will come along and buy in. The seniors have a a role to bring those freshmen along. That’s something that’s really special and unique about this team.
“I’d like to get all the mistakes done and out of the way in the next month. We’ll be overwhelming them with a lot of content and a lot of plays, but that needs to happen for us to accomplish our expectations and our goals.”
Sitake said he’s gotten to spend a little bit of time with his new born daughter, Sylvia, this summer, enjoying his role as a father and a husband.
Now, his focus will be on the 2022 football season.
“I get to follow that up (having a baby) with getting to coach the greatest team in college football,” he said. “The guys look great. We’re excited to see those guys evolve during fall camp.”
BYU will begin practice Thursday and scrimmage two or three times before game week prep begins on August 29 for South Florida. The Cougars travel to play the Bulls on Sept. 3 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.